How to Secure Pre-Disaster Mitigation Funding for Your Next Project
By Molly Davidson, PE
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the availability of Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Grants in August 2019. PDM grant funds help to mitigate hazards associated with flood events, heavy storms, earthquakes, fire, erosion, hurricanes and tornadoes.
With PDM funding expected to exceed $235 million nationally for mitigation projects, it’s no wonder that this program is drawing the attention of local governments throughout the west.
Using Pre-Disaster Mitigation Funds
Applicants can use PDM funds to mitigate hazard risks. Funds can be used to move utilities, conduct seismic retrofits, replace bridges, prevent landslides, stabilize riverbanks, mitigate floods and drought, build dam safety projects, and update storm drainage facilities, to name a few.
Grants awards are available up to $4 million dollars per project. Grant funds will only cover up to 75% of the total project cost, requiring a 25% local match. The match can come through a combination of State or local grants, cash, or in-kind activities.
The Federal government is increasing annual appropriations to this program. For example, compare a $25 million appropriation in 2015 to the $235 million appropriation in 2018. Due to the drastic increase in funding, this grant creates significant opportunity for western communities.
Eligibility for Pre-Disaster Mitigation Funds
Grant seekers must qualify for eligibility to apply for funding. Key components to eligibility include:
- Being defined as a State, Tribe or Local government entity,
- Residing County having a completed local Hazard Mitigation Plan,
- Associating the funding request to the Hazard Mitigation Plan, and
- Demonstrating that the project has a benefit cost ratio of at least 1.
The benefit cost ratio (BCR) is an analysis of the anticipated benefits of the project compared to the cost of the project. Morrison-Maierle is a certified benefit cost analysis (BCA) provider and can provide guidance on eligibility requirements.